Press release: Commission opens consultation on the annual return

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has today announced a consultation for next year’s annual return. This consultation is part of a two-year project to fundamentally review the key information that we collect and display from charities.

The annual return is a key regulatory tool for the regulator that is used for two main purposes. It enables the Commission to collect information about charities that it can use to identify issues of concern, either in specific charities or areas of broader risk across the charity sector. It is the source of much of the information that is displayed on the Register of Charities – a key driver to allow the public and donors to find out more information about charities.

This two year project will take a fundamental look at how we collect information using the Annual Return; whether we are collecting the right information for our regulatory work and will also explore other ways to keep the Charity Register up to date.

The first part of that project starts today with the launch of this consultation to make some structural changes to how we collect information for the annual return in 2017. In particular, questions are asked about whether:

  • charities should keep the fundamental information up to date more regularly that annually
  • questions should be focussed to match the Commission’s strategic priorities and targeted at the relevant charities
  • the regulatory burden can be lifted by making sure the annual return is more targeted and proportionate

Jane Adderley, Head of First Contact, at the Charity Commission said:

The annual return is a vital tool that allows us to regulate effectively. Making sure that we collect the right information, in the right way is a key part of this. Over the next two years, we hope the annual return will change and improve significantly and this is the first step.

Making sure that these changes are made in the right way for charities, as well as the Commission, is important and so we would encourage registered charities to respond.

The consultation can be filled in using a simple online survey and runs until 9 March 2017.


PR 93/16

Notes to editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
  2. Search for charities on our online register.

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